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International Development Research @ Cambridge


The Borysiewicz Biomedical Sciences Fellowships have been developed in honour of Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, a pioneer in the biomedical sciences, who when Vice-Chancellor of the University led and shaped the development of key provisions for Cambridge’s postdoc community. The Fellowships will take outstanding Cambridge postdocs and develop them into motivated, strategic future leaders ready to pursue a range of global questions and problems.


The programme will provide a unique mixture of purposeful and outcome-driven engagement opportunities for postdocs both within and outside their area of expertise, which will develop their skills as leaders and lead to a chance to pursue truly independent work on novel ideas. The programme will be managed by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPdA) and is part of the University’s on-going endeavour to support and develop its large and expanding postdoctoral community.


In the first year, Fellows will embark on a set of flexible, outcome-driven trainings and experiences intended to develop leadership and teamwork skills. In parallel, Fellows will spend time in small groups, or ‘pods’, pursuing a Global Challenge in collaboration with mentors and experts from industry, enterprise, policy, government and academia leading to a tangible output. This will be completed alongside a Fellow’s existing research contract. Awards are made via a small enhancement in salary and a small proportion of salary buy-out of the Fellow’s research contract (4 hours per week). However, it is expected that Fellows would dedicate a minimum of eight hours per week to the scheme over the course of one year thus allowing the time and scope to pursue the programme’s objectives.

Following the year of bespoke development and training, Fellows will have the opportunity to bid for a period of independent time to pursue their own work. The projects can be anything from a conventional research project, to starting a business, to political or civil society-engagement. Fellows will submit a costed and timetabled bid with realisable goals to a diverse panel of senior leaders drawn from academia, industry and policy and will be expected to demonstrate how they made use of the Borysiewicz support. Independent projects will normally be six months in length, but exceptional proposals will be evaluated on their merits.


26 February 2018                    Application deadline

March 2018                             Interviews of longlisted candidates

April 2018                               Award notifications

14 -15 June 2018                    Launch event and start of Fellowships

August 2018                           Final proposal for Global Challenges projects

Aug 2018-June 2019               Programme of training, events and experiences

May 2019                               Deadline for independent project proposal

June 2019                              Event/reports/presentations on Global Challenges projects

June 2019                               Independent projects awarded and start (flexible)

Dec 2019 (or later)                  Event/reports/presentations on independent projects


  1. Applicants must have a current research contract in the biomedical sciences, broadly conceived, at the University of Cambridge or a University Partner Institution (UPI). Applications from relevant humanities and social sciences disciplines are also welcome but must relate to a biomedical science field;
  2. Applicants must not hold, or have held, an academic position at Lecturer level (or the equivalent in non-academic institutions);
  3.  It is expected that applicants will have a research contract that will outlast the duration of phase one of the programme; that is, through June 2019;
  4.  Applications are welcome from candidates seeking flexible working arrangements (e.g., part-time);

Assessment criteria

The Fellowships are designed to provide career enhancement to support outstanding researchers seeking to shape the future for the betterment of society. Therefore strong emphasis will be placed on the leadership potential of the candidates.

Applications will be assessed on the following criteria:

  • Academic quality: 40%
  • Evidence of leadership skills: 30%
  • Demonstrated impact and engagement: 30%

Evaluation will include:


  • Research track record;
  • Evidence of independence and leadership;
  • Demonstrated impact and engagement outside research.

Departmental support:

  • Evidence of research support (e.g., additional financial support, access to core facilities, etc), if relevant to the proposed independent project;
  • Support letter from line manager (PI).


How to apply

Please send the following documents to the attention of Dr Anke Friedrich, OPdA Fellowships and Programmes Administrator, via no later than 17:00 on Monday, 26 February 2018.

  • Letter of interest stating motivation and suitability for application, including research history, impact, engagement and leadership skills (1500 words max);
  • Current CV (2 sides of A4 max);
  • Supporting letter from PI detailing applicant’s suitability;

Any questions can be directed to


Welcome to Cambridge Global Challenges

Cambridge Global Challenges is the Strategic Research Initiative (SRI) of the University of Cambridge that aims to enhance the contribution of its research towards addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, with a particular focus on the poorest half of the world’s population.


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